President Kaljulaid combines US visit with 4-hour NYC marathon time

President Kersti Kaljulaid running in the TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday. 4 November 2018.
President Kersti Kaljulaid running in the TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday. 4 November 2018. Source: Kersti Kaljulaid/Twitter

President Kersti Kaljulaid took time out from her schedule to compete in the TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday, in a highly respectable time of just over four hours, finishing in the top fifth by gender and age group.

Ms Kaljulaid is in the US as part of a tour which had already taken her to Australia and New Zealand, and where she has met with UN Secretary-General António Guterres, the UN's African Group, ambassadors of the UN Security Council, former Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg and others, as well as visited the New York Estonian School.

Her working visit to the US culminated on Sunday in a 42.2 km run round the streets of all five boroughs of New York City, recording an official time of 4:02.40.

"Rather astonishing to be at the finish line with so many happy people," she tweeted in English after the event.

Top fifth of finishers by category

Ms Kaljulaid, reportedly accompanied by two US Secret Service agents who also ran the marathon, placed well inside the top third of overall finishers, in 15,394th place (of 52,704) She was also comfortably inside the top 20% both by gender (4,004th out of 22,122) and age group (489th out of 2,990).

Ms Kaljulaid is no stranger to long-distance events, but New York was exactly double the distance she ran in September in Tallinn, where she completed the half marathon in one hour fifty minutes. That time she ran, possibly for security reasons, in the registered bib number of a runner who did not make it to the event that day.

The New York event, which has been held annually since 1970 and attracts close to 100,000 entrants, was won by Lelisa Desisa of Ethopia (2:05.59) in the mens' event and Mary Keitany (2:22.48) of Kenya in the women's.

Daniel Romanchuk of the US won the wheelchair division (1:36:21) and Fabio Faborges of Brazil the handcycle cateogory (1:36.54).

President Kaljulaid returns to Estonia on Monday evening.

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An earlier version of this article misstated President Kaljulaid's marathon time. Please accept our apologies.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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